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Bush destroyed the GOP

So says Peggy Noonan. She's right, of course, but it gives the president a little too much credit. In reality, he had a lot of help, primarily from the Republican congress, which did at least as much to shred the party's reputation for fiscal restraint as the president. Bush probably couldn't have done it without assists from Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Ted Stevens, Don Young, and the list goes on and on.

But let's get to the real point of Noonan's piece as I see it: Rush Limbaugh is stupid. His relentless and senseless broadside against the S.S. McCain continues unabated. This was the quote that prompted Noonan's remark.

...Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

Look, I know a lot of conservatives who dislike McCain, but not a one who would make such a vapid and indefensible statement as that. You'd hope this kind of over-the-top, irrational hyperbole would destroy whatever remaining credibility the guy has, but I fear it won't.

I'd respect Rush a lot more if he'd just say, "Look, I hate McCain because I hate him." At least it'd be honest. But no, he has to claim that nominating McCain would somehow be the undoing of Western civilization. Thanks to recent GOP leadership, Republicans have lost both houses of congress, tanked in the polls, and stand poised to lose the White House. Yet somehow, nominating the one candidate that polls say can keep the White House, and who has a lifetime ACU rating of 82, would "destroy" the party. What the hell does that even mean?

And then to rally around Romney as the great conservative hope? What the hell are these people thinking? And it's not just Rush, either. If it were, I could perhaps write it off to a relapse of chemical dependency. But no, as near as I can tell, conservative talk radio has monolithically (if inexplicably) rallied around Romney after Thompson's departure from the scene. Grrrr!!!

I've got some thoughts about the McCain/Romney matchup, but I'm going to save them for another post, because thinking about it is pissing me off and ruining my Saturday morning.


Hey Barry,
Dont let Rush Limbaugh ruin your Saturday morning. We, liberals, have known for many many years that the guy is a a total idiot :-) I am glad you finally started realizing it.

Anyway, Romney is cool. Go Mitt !!!

Rush Limbaugh's hatred of McCain is very simple. It's about power. Talk show hosts such as Levin and Limbaugh have invested so much in going after McCain that, if McCain wins, then that will be a demonstration that their 20 million listeners listen but do not really listen to Rush and Levin.

A President Romney will go on the Rush Limbaugh show and praise him. A President McCain will not. Hillary Clinton won't either, but at least Rush Limbaugh will be united with his listeners against her.

So when Rush Limbaugh says a McCain victory will destroy the Republican Party, he really means it could destroy the Rush Limbaugh show.

I disagree with Peggy Noonan to this extent, I believe it was actually the DeLay Congress that changed/"destroyed" the Reagan-styled ("small government") GOP.

That's, without question, been a harsh reality for the Libertarian wing of the GOP, which is quite sizable and highly motivated.

Under DeLay the GOP Congress moved away from the Gingrich model and went back to more of a "politics as usual" model of governance.

That may be disappointing (it was to me) but it's also very understandable.

Through the 1980s and into the 1990s I was very much in symaptico with the Murray Rothbard ("Paleo-Libertarians" - economically Libertarian, socially Conservative types), but when Bratton's brilliant strategies (CompStat, etc) worked their magic and helped the Giuliani administration salvage NYC from the wreckage of the Dinkins administration. Dinkins left the city gripped in the worst crime wave on record, with over 2000 murders/year his last two years and fiscal chaos. That success forever changed a lot of minds, just as it changed NYC dramatically for the better.

I worked in the South Bronx during that period and although I admit to initially having some reservations about NYC Police cordoning off entire inner city blocks and demanding ID from anyone coming onto or leaving those blocks and their "stop & frisks" (an unmarked police car would pull up behind a group of inner city youths and throw them up against a wall and roust them for drugs and weapons, I soon came around to recognizing that decades of intractable crime required an iron fisted approach.

At any rate the Bratton/Giuliani system WORKED!

As a result, many others around the country modelled their law enforcement around Bratton's approach, which centered on the mantra, "(violent street) Crime is motivated by GREED not NEED."

It's not that I LIKE the idea of "big government Conservatism," or "security"/Daddy-State policies so much, but at least I've come to recognize that they WORK, while socially Liberal/Mommy-State policies DO NOT.

Post-9/11 my views have become even more decidedly pro-security State policy-wise.

Freedom to the misguided and immature, seems to be defined as "the right to do whatever we want, so long as we don't harm anyone else."

I reject that inanity and note that NONE of America's Founders confused LIBERTY (self-ownership/responsibility) with that kind of debased license.

And yet, those who champion license today rail AGAINST government intrusions over terrorism and crime, while championing government intrusions in far more personal aspects of our lives (what we eat, drink, etc).

The same dolts argue in favor of a broader "equality" under the banner of "social" or "economic justice."

Equality is antithetical to LIBERTY and America's Founder's design.

Liberty proposes "equality under the law" and equality of opportunity" between people with very unequal backgrounds and abilities, thereby virtually assuring a disparate and UNEQUAL distribution of wealth and property.
I support LIBERTY precisely because I support, or at least ACCEPT that UNEQUALITY as natural and the disparities that result inevitable.

In other words, I have become comfortable (and indeed, a happy servant) in the midst of the "Security State."

That said, I sympathize with hardcore Libertarians who once felt they had a real home in what was once the "fiscally responsible/small government GOP." BUT, the question is, where are they gonna go?!

Opposing BOTH the warfare & welfare States, they have no place in the "big government, socially Liberal Democratic Party!

I suppose they COULD simply go back to supporting the LP, but to what purpose? To punish the GOP???.....while rewarding the Democrats for even more egregious fiscal irresponsibility and far LESS accountability in the current and ongoing WoT?!

What would I say to my Libertarian friends (and I very much respect Libertarians, nearly as much as I loathe Liberals/Leftists)?

I'd say, "Take heart, Liberty (self-ownership/responsibility) is NOT license (doing what we want). License wasn't bequeathed us in the Constitution, LIBERTY was. Moreover, while nothing more than a cursory "equality before the law between unequals" was espoused by America's Framers, Police and Military powers were indeed lauded and codified into the core principles of our Constitution, along with individualism, private property rights and LIBERTY as "self-responsibility."

Do I favor the government doing more with less (fewer police & military resources)? You bet!

Do I think the renewed emphasis on security is going to sit well with many anarcho-Libertarians and other purists?

Not at all!

But I ask them, where can they possibly turn?

Reagan started the destruction, Newty kept the stupidity going, and Bush took it to its logical end: endless war and economic collapse.

China now owns manufacturing and India owns engineering and software.

The Republicans sold the country out, and Clinton went along with it as well, because he is as corrupt as they are.

The Republicans (and Clinton) helped a few companies consolidate all media, busted unions to nothing, and put the monopolies back together. They raced the country in reverse as fast as they could gun the engine.

In the end, they all walk away rich, fat, and happy. They can go live in the south of France.

We can't. All we can do is watch Rome burn.

I'm willing to bet $1 (or more) that regardless of who wins the Republican nomination, and whether the next occupant of the White House is Obama or Hillary, Rush Limbaugh will continue to be the most successful radio talk show host since Will Rogers.

That annonymouse guy's almost as historically ignorant as that old Barely Hanging guy.

There were no "small government" Republican Presidents prior to Ronald Reagan.

Goldwater doesn't count, because (1) he never held WH and (2) his views were anathema to the conventional Keynesian wisdom of the day.

Even Nixon was a big government Keynesian and going all the way back to the turn of the the century, Teddy Roosevelt spoke of our need to "protect our far flung financial empire that now spreads across this great globe."

At the time the DEMOCRATS were steadfastly against Teddy Roosevelt's pro-busines GLOBALISM because they believed (1) it would "lead inevitably to perpetual war, the way all empires do" and (2) that the American people's interests are NOT entirely iintertwined with the nation's business interests.

Well, Teedy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge were right and the dolts who claimed that "America's business interesta are NOT America's interests," were wrong.

Today, appx 6% of the nation is employed by either state, local or federal government entities. Almost a fifth (18%) work for themselves, either in professional practices or in businesses they own. Factoring a 5% unemployment rate and another 10% to 12% working for various small businesses and non-profits, that leaves a whopping 60% of the American people working for "Big Business."

The vast majority of Americans now owe their lives, lifestyles and livelihoods to that "far flung financial empire" that Teddy Roosevelt extolled.

America's global business interests ARE America's interests.

The only difference today is that the Democrats have largely come around.

The election of 2006 was a full-fledged capitulation on that point by the Dems, with Schumer and Emmanuel recruiting scores of Conservative Democrats to the point where today over 20% of the Dems in Congress are Conservative Democrats.

Will that trend continue in 2008?

It will IF the Democrats hope to continue to win, and even maintain those seats!


Because 2006 also showed that Americans tend to vote even more Conservative than previously thought - gay marrigae was defeated on 8 of 9 referendums across the country and by a total margin of 2 to 1, eminent domain (voted FOR by EVERY Liberal member of the SC) fared even worse, going down on 11 of 12 ballot initiatives across the country, race/gender-based preferences were voted down by over 60% of the elctorate in very BLUE Michigan.

Smart Democrats, like Emmanuel and Schumer see the writing on the wall and have adopted a "if you can't beat'em, join'em" strategy, which has brought many Conservative Democrats to the forefront.

TODAY, there is no Keynesian Party in America.

The only self-proclaimed Keynesian (government social spending is good, etc) in the race (John Edwards) is losing to two candidates who've espoused more Supply Side policies.

The ONLY two GOP leaders who ever advanced a small government agenda were Reagan and Gingrich....and only Gingrich (controlling the purse strings) was able to achieve any substantial reduction in government spending.

Oh, and if you know, or run into that goofy Barely Hanging, would you please tell him all this, so I don't have to repeat myself?


Very sensible posting. The analysis is spot on.

JMK, why is it always one or the other? I think Giuliani is by instinct effective on security and libertarian on most other issues - deregulation, fiscal conservative, not a culture warrior. He´s like McCain for people who don´t like McCain.

PS. Some of you are just as unhinged about Romney as others are about McCain.

I don't understand your complaint with me el gord. I've many times (right here) acknowledged that Rudy was a GREAT Mayor of NYC, thanks, in large measure, to Bill Bratton's programs. He was not only excellent in reducing NYC's out-of-control crime to unprtecedentedly low levels, but he did consolidate services and save the City billions of dollars.

The fact that I also acknowledge that Giuliani has many personal flaws, doesn't mean I disliked either his Mayoralty or him personally, el gordo. I have long felt he'd make a very dubious candidate - he has an autocratic personality (he's as unlikeable as Hillary Clinton is) and, like HRC, is prone to melt down when things don't go his way.

In his last term as Mayor of NYC, these qualities didn't serve him well at all - his judgments post-Bratton were pretty poor (Safir was a poor replacement for Bratton and Kerick was worse)....Rudy DID indeed go against both the NYPD and FDNY brass in insisting that the City's Emergency Command Post be located in Building 7 of the WTC.

Neither Rudy nor McCain are anything close to "Reagan-styled Conservatives," for that matter, neither are Romney nor Huckabee.

It is my opinion that Romney and McCain are better candidates than either Rudy or Huckabee, others have their own opinions on that.

As for the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity and other Talk Radio personalities, though I'm not certain, I don't believe that any of those folks endorse candidates.

It is their right to try and push the GOP agenda as far to the Right as they're so inclined. There's nothing innately wrong with that.

Much of the MSM actively pushes the Democratic agenda as left as they can.

In fact, very recently the NY Times was caught in yet another lie (what's that lie # 3,678,456?), claiming that the returning Afghan and Iraqi vets were responsible for 121 homocides, stateside between the years 2003 & 2007. (That part is indeed TRUE)

The story implied however that the returning vets were responsible for an unprecedented murder spree over that period. (that part is demonstrably UNTRUE)

DOJ statistics show that a sample of 350,000 Americans from that same age group, that did not serve in Iraq or Afghanistan would be expected to be responsible for appx 150 murders per YEAR, or 600 murders over the period the NY Times tracked the vets.

In other words, the NY Times SHOULD'VE BEEN that returning vets commit murders at ONE FIFTH the rate of their less "militaristic," less service-oriented fellow citizens!

JMK is an admitted dittohead.

He can be ignored with no loss.

The ONLY two GOP leaders who ever advanced a small government agenda were Reagan and Gingrich....and only Gingrich (controlling the purse strings) was able to achieve any substantial reduction in government spending.

Thank you JMK. Reagan's presidency holds the prestigous award for Presidency with the Highest Deficit (6% GDP). Johnson's second, and W holds third (he can't even be #1 in debt)

Also, it seems conservatives are acting like purist little drama queens. Instead of working together and accepting that they cant always get what they want, they cry that one man destroyed a party of millions. Boo effin hoo. That's like saying 19 terrorists discredited a religion with 1 billion believers.
I'm sorry if I have offended some and will continue to, but as a liberal who has been reading conservative blogs for the past couple of years, I'm afraid y'all are no more mature than people on my side.

You're right Rachel, that the debt rose (even skyrocketed) under Reagan, as Congress refused to cut spending as he demanded. In fact they spent $2 for every dollar of tax cuts.

Johnson, like GW, had wartime spending boost that debt spending and, like Bush, saw his own Party engage in a pork barrell fest of domestic spending.

You're also right that Gingrich remains the ONLY politician to actually cut government spending, as he controlled the purse strings, at least for a brief while (far too brief, in my view).

And it's also true that when Primaries are open (and there's been none more open on both sides than this one), it's understandable that ideological zealots will want their favored Party's agenda to swing more Left or Right.

I'd like to see BOTH Parties agendas move to the Right, especially economically, but other ways as well (just as the likes of BW apparently want the agndas moved Left, but I don't expect all that much on either side...politicians don't care about voters, they care (and rightly so) about DONORS.

As I said, I'm glad that Huckabee and Rudy seem out, while McCain & Romney are left fighting for the GOP nod. I DON'T believe EITHER Romney nor McCain will "harm the GOP," nor abandon, or even re-define Conservatism.

I'm also happy to see that Edwards, by far the most Left-wing of the major three Dems is also appearing to be out.

Both Clinton and Obama look poised to move Right and back toward the Center on both the WoT and the economy.

"Change" is a buzzword this season, but I don't expect much real "change" from ANY of those left standing.

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